Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department


Committee Chair/Advisor

Grover, Varun

Committee Member

Klein , Richard

Committee Member

Roth , Philip


While Information-Technology (IT)-Business Strategic Alignment (hereafter referred to as alignment) continues to be a topic of great concern to both researchers and practitioners alike, it is often misunderstood and, as such, many organizations find alignment difficult to achieve. In particular, alignment is often defined in many different ways, its operational measures are used inconsistently, and it is unclear how it can be attained. In this dissertation, we assert that researchers should include explicit references to the type of alignment under study, that adequate and consistent operational measures of each alignment type are necessary, and that we need a better understanding of the CIO attributes that may facilitate alignment. Each of these points is addressed in three separate essays, as discussed in the following paragraphs.
In our first essay, we conducted a review and meta-analysis of the alignment literature to gain a better understanding of the types of alignment that have been examined. In particular, we probed the inter-relationships between alignment, the context, and firm performance. We found distinct relationships between three types of alignment and three measures of firm performance. We also found social alignment is a precursor to alignment within firms. Furthermore, a moderator analysis suggested sampling and measurement are an additional source of conflicting findings in the alignment literature. Through this essay, we contribute to the literature by developing clear definitions of alignment's dimensions, clarifying the relationship between alignment and types of performance outcomes, and offering insight into sources of inconsistencies in alignment research. We believe this first essay offers a basis for more consistent treatment of alignment concepts in future IT research.
In our second essay, we report on the development of operational measures designed to capture six different types of alignment. These instruments are intended to be a tool for studying the alignment between IT and business strategies (i.e. intellectual alignment), between IT and business infrastructures and processes (i.e. operational alignment), and across these two domains such that strategies are linked with infrastructures and processes (i.e. 4 types of cross-domain alignment). As such, this essay proposes definitions for each type of alignment and develops operational measures for each construct, each possessing desirable psychometric properties.
Finally, we apply the Power-Dependence and Political Perspectives in our third essay to explain the relationship between power, political skill, and the CIO's influence over the executive team's commitment to strategic and technical IT initiatives. Our results suggest structural power (i.e. the CIO's formal position in the firm), expert power (i.e. the CIO's business and technical knowledge), and prestige power (i.e. the important connections the CIO has established) relate to the CIO's influence over the executive team's commitment to IT initiatives. We also found political skill positively moderates the relationship between the CIO's power and influence over the executive team's commitment to IT initiatives.
Taken together, our literature review provides conceptual clarity about the nature of alignment. In our construct development essay, we gained operational clarity such that researchers can study the different types of alignment and their relationships with other constructs like performance. Finally, our CIO study improves our understanding of the manifestation of alignment through CIO influence on major IT-business initiatives.



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